My friend just asked me this today.

What should I tell him?

Are these words somehow related or were they related in the past and not anymore now?

  • @JRodge01 Reads like an answer to me. Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 13:28
  • @DJClayworth Made it an answer. Links are hard to format on mobile :(
    – JRodge01
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 13:34
  • 1
    The incorrect assumption here is that words with some combination of identical letters will always be related. Sometimes they will, sometimes they won't.
    – CJ Dennis
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 0:38

1 Answer 1


English is a mishmash of different languages, meaning a lot of words may look the same but aren't from the same source language. Hostile comes from the Latin word "hostis" meaning enemy. "Host" comes from the French word "hoste"

  • Wiktionary is not a very extensive resource. For language roots a better resource is etymonline, where it shows that host and hostile are cognate along with guest, hospital, hotel, and hostage but not ghost. You should probably mention this, and also semantic drift in your answer.
    – Mitch
    Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 17:54
  • +1 It's still the right answer. The vagaries of history, politics, culture, and usage over the thousand years that separate Latin and French account for all the meaning differences. Commented Mar 12, 2020 at 18:27

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